Nepal (MNN) — Whether ministering to the 14-year-old, HIV-positive girl who is trying to finish 8th grade while slowly going blind, or a former prostitute who now leads a Bible study, Vision Beyond Borders is making a difference among the girls caught in Kathmandu’s sex trade. About seven years ago, Suren, VBB’s contact in Nepal, realized the neediest of people were the girls who sold their bodies.
It took some time, but VBB rented space for a safe house and started job training for women who wanted to leave the sex trade.
At a meeting held by VBB for these girls to talk about the issues they face, Suren said about 80 women came with tales of being trapped.
“There were tears in these women’s eyes,” he said.
When asked if they would like to leave that life behind, Suren said their response was, “Yes, but how?”
“Sir, what do I do? My husband goes and finds my customers for me,” one of the women told Suren.
Women talked about getting beaten by their own families if they did not sell themselves.
Looking at the other non-government aid agencies working in Kathmandu, he found that, of the 18 other organizations VBB was prepared to partner with, most only provided drop-in centers.
“They can do their business, then if they get sick, they can go to this drop-in center and stay for up to a week, getting help with infections they may have,” Suren said. But the girls are not given a way out.
Not everyone believed it could be done, Suren said. A Christian sister who was involved for six years in such a ministry told him not to try it. In those six years, only two girls left the streets.
“I thought, ‘Is it really that tough?’” Suren says. VBB started a beauty salon where the girls receive job training. Most of the girls who have gone through the program have gone back to their family, changed people.
“Their family is forced to accept this, because they’ve seen the positive change in their lives,” explains Suren.
God’s favor has been on the safe house. They have 17 girls at the safe house, with two attending Bible college. They are sharing the gospel with the other girls now, Suren says. “One of these girls was sharing at the safe house recently, and I was amazed by what God was doing in her life.”
Suren says he is concerned about the safety of the girls. While they are having positive experiences and are hearing the Gospel, those who took them into the sex trade and benefited financially from them sometimes threaten Suren and those at the safe house.
“I would appreciate your prayer covering for that, as we continue this ministry,” he asks.
God’s providence on the safe house was shown earlier this year when the safe house had to move. Their landlord was giving them problems.
“We’d rented this 4-story house and told the landlord we wanted to bring needy girls and women there and train them. We had a 2-year contract, but in one year, the neighbors in that area started giving us problems when they found out what type of girls were there. The landlord began coming around and complaining. Suren says. So they moved out of the house. Two months later, the earthquake struck Nepal, killing thousands, and that house was destroyed. If they had still been in that rental, someone would surely have been hurt or killed. God is watching over the safe house and the girls who are learning about Christ due to the efforts of VBB.